Companies working on large-scale solar thermal projects in Australia say they are tantalisingly close to achieving the dream of building plants big enough to replace coal-fired energy in Australia.

Experts speaking at the Australian Solar Energy Exhibition and Conference in Melbourne last week said the technology had been proven in other countries, and projects in Australia were viable, but the challenge was getting major investors to gamble on something new.

James Fisher, the chief technology officer of Australian solar energy company Vast Solar, said solar thermal energy had been the “poor cousin” to photovoltaic solar panels for some years, but that may finally be changing.

“We’ve got a whole lot of coal-fired power stations that largely are 30-plus years old and many of them are going to retire naturally,” he said.

Read the full article here.